2019 Media Watch Archives

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Machines Whisper Our Secrets

Brisk and UC Irvine electrical and computer engineering professor Mohammad Abdullah Al Faruqueand his doctoral student Sina Faezi; along with John C. Chaput, a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at UC Irvine; and William Grover, a bioengineering professor at UC Riverside, set microphones similar to those in a smartphone in several spots near a DNA synthesizer in Chaput’s lab.
IEEE Spectrum

How to Steal DNA With Sound

IEEE Spectrum -
Engineers at the University of California say they have demonstrated how easy it would be to snoop on biotech companies making synthetic DNA…. The researchers demonstrated their spying technique on the Applied Biosystems 3400 DNA Synthesizer, a widely used older model…. “Acoustics for this particular machine was the problem,” says Mohammad Al Faruque, an electrical and computer engineering professor at the University of California Irvine whose team developed the algorithms. But any type of emission from a machine can potentially be analyzed, he says.
The New York TImes

Is the Next Hacking Frontier Being Developed in California?

The New York Times -
The idea for the project, said Mohammad Al Faruque, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at U.C.I., stemmed from his previous work stealing blueprints for things printed by a 3-D printer. “If you can eavesdrop on a machine, you can understand what it’s making,” he said. “And with the 3-D printer, we demonstrated that.”
Health Management

Lab instruments in possible data leak

Health Management -
A new study warns lab instruments used in biomedical research, such as DNA synthesising machines, may be leaking sensitive information through some kind of noise or sound that they make. The study by University of California researchers serves to highlight new security risks created by the cyber-physical nature of biotechnology workflows. The researchers found that speakers similar to smartphone speakers had the capability to determine what a DNA synthesiser was producing from the sounds its components made as it went through its manufacturing routine.

Hackers Listen in on What Synthetic DNA Machines are Printing

“Over the last century, whether it was from computers or mobile phones, stealing data was all about directly stealing zeros and ones,” says Mohammad Abdullah Al Faruque, a computer scientist at UC Irvine whose lab led the latest eavesdropping efforts.
Healthcare IT News

Lab instruments may be leaking patient data, study finds

Healthcare IT News -
The new report noted the cyber-physical nature of biotechnology workflows has created new security risks, which the research community has mostly neglected. The researchers, including Philip Brisk, a UC Riverside associate professor of computer science, and UC Irvine electrical and computer engineering professor Mohammad Abdullah Al Faruque, recommend labs using DNA synthesizing machines institute security measures.
News Medical Life Sciences

Researchers uncover possibility of acoustic side-channel attack on DNA synthesis process

News Medical Life Sciences -
"A few years ago, we published a study on a similar method for stealing blueprints of objects being fabricated in 3-D printers, but this attack on DNA synthesizers is potentially much more serious," said Mohammad Al Faruque, UCI associate professor of electrical engineering & computer science. "In the wrong hands, DNA synthesis capability could result in bioterrorists synthesizing, at will, harmful pathogens such as anthrax."
Chemistry World

Eight-letter genetic code hints at how alien life might evolve

Chemistry World -
‘Expanded genetic systems allow us to challenge the notion that the most conserved aspects of biology, shared across all life, are special,’ says genetic systems engineer Chang Liu from the University of California, Irvine, US, who was not involved in the new work.

Carbon capture could be key to decarbonizing U.S. fossil fuels

Axios -
Luca Mastropasqua, senior research scientist at the University of California Irvine's Advanced Power and Energy Program writes, “Approximately 49 million tons of CO2 could be cut via carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) in the power sector — equivalent to removing 7 million cars from the roads — by 2030, according to a Clean Air Task Force (CATF) report published this week.”
R&D Magazine

Shrinky Dinks Inspire Respiration Monitor

R&D Magazine -
“The current standard of care in respiration monitoring is a pulmonary function test that's often difficult to perform and limited in terms of the snapshot it provides of a patient's respiratory health—meaning problems can sometimes be missed,” Michael Chu, UCI graduate student researcher in biomedical engineering and lead author of the study, said in a statement. “Our new stretch sensors allow users to walk around and go about their lives while vital information on the health of their lungs is being collected.”


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